When most people start thinking about family preparedness, they focus on food. Not shelter, gear, sanitation, power, self-defense or the myriad of other concerns that need to be addressed following an emergency or disaster situation. Quite simply, food is the number one concern people have second only to their concern for having an adequate supply of water.
Learn about bulk foods and cooking methods that your can use when there is no power to your home.  Many of the websites selling food will have blogs as well as links to helpful information.  Why not use them to increase your overall knowledge and  become familiar with additional tactics and strategies for storing food for the long term in a hassle free manner?

When I am going through a grocery store gathering survival food, I get some strange looks from people close enough to hear me muttering under my breath as I discount items. Phrases like “not enough calories”, “needs more fat”, not enough carbs”, and the like roll off my tongue frequently. The truth of the matter is that what we consider to be a healthy diet in normal times is probably inadequate in a high stress, very active, crisis situation. There is a reason we like carbs, and fats, and sugars, and that reason is our body needs these things. The human palate developed in times when being physically active and dealing with life threatening events was the norm, and when a steady supply of food was not a guarantee. Hence the urge to get all we can when we can, which leads to rampant obesity in modern sedentary times but is adaptive to survival in harder times.
1. Something else to consider is a smart phone. My phone has a 32gig memory chip. It can holds LOTS of info. Some paperback books will be good to have. But even off the grid a phone can still access certain apps that have been downloade. I have about 50 books on my phone. A compass. Maps. I can draw a quick map or list with my stylis too. I can easily share documents and file by just tapping my phone on another smart phone. Take pictures and zoom in on them. Great to check progress walking and general references.… Read more »
Canned meat: Get about 20 cans of assorted meats. Without refrigeration it will be hard to keep meat from spoiling, and that’s if you can get it in the first place. There are quite a few options, SPAM, Ham, Beef, Chicken, Tuna and sardines, but remember buy what you eat now. Also make sure you have a manual can opener, your electric can opener might not work.

Cavemen were gathers before they began hunting. After that they were hunter-gatherers. They ate fruits, wild greens, roots, nuts and seeds. There are most definitely carbs in those. If you are not eating some carbs you are not healthy. You don’t need a lot unless you are very active and definitely do not need manufactured carbs but you do need some carbs in your diet to survive.
In his 2016 book, Can It! The Perils and Pleasures of Preserving Foods, Gary Allen, a food writer and adjunct professor at SUNY Empire State College, traces the evolution of food preservation as a source of culinary innovation. “The original food-preservation methods—like salting and drying and all that—actually turned the food into something else,” he told me over the phone. “Cabbage sauerkraut is not the same thing as cabbage. Wine is not the same thing as grape juice.”
EMP attacks, both natural and otherwise, are genuine threats. Once considered “conspiracy theory,” EMP attack threats have been featured in mainstream media publications such as Business Insider and Bloomberg. Natural EMP threats are proven as well. The sun’s solar flares have (and will again) wreaked havoc on our planet during non-technology eras. In 2012, it almost happened again.
I mean, how can you possibly deny the usefulness of one of these? I’ve spoken about it before in my article about staying indoors when the power’s out: having a brick room-sized shed/garage separate from the house and put a fireplace there is pretty much my idea of the perfect prepper space to create. And this is the wood-burning stove/fireplace that would go there. In my dreams of course, because first you need to have the right property, then the right garage/shed, then finally I can grab this sort of remarkably useful kind of thing.
Survivalism is a primarily American movement of individuals or groups (called survivalists or preppers) who actively prepare for emergencies, including possible disruptions in social or political order, on scales from local to international. Survivalism also encompasses preparation for personal emergencies, such as job loss or being stranded in the wild or under adverse weather conditions. The emphasis is on self-reliance, stockpiling supplies, and gaining survival knowledge and skills. Survivalists often acquire emergency medical and self-defense training, stockpile food and water, prepare to become self-sufficient, and build structures such as survival retreats or underground shelters that may help them survive a catastrophe.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in their "If You See Something, Say Something" campaign says that "the public should report only suspicious behavior and situations...rather than beliefs, thoughts, ideas, expressions, associations, or speech...".[86] However, it is alleged that a DHS list of the characteristics of potential domestic terrorists used in law enforcement training includes "Survivalist literature (fictional books such as Patriots and One Second After are mentioned by name)", "Self-sufficiency (stockpiling food, ammo, hand tools, medical supplies)", and "Fear of economic collapse (buying gold and barter items)".[87][88]
Portable or Camp Stove and Fuel- A small, efficient stove for cooking and boiling water is invaluable and generally offers more convenience than doing either over an open fire unless you have a fireplace in home or a fire pit outside. Fuel types vary, but you may choose to rely on one that has small, self contained fuel cans or cylinders, or a pop-up model that is multi-fuel, relying on gas, alcohol, wood or charcoal.
I would like to add something, not necessarily to the list, but more like “food for thought” ideas that could very well save you and your family’s life. Living in the South, you “will almost” grow up around some natural disasters, whether it be a hurricane or tornado, most of us here take “prepping” very serious..and we learn a lot from those disasters also (I.e. Hurricane Katrina). I grew up around great-grandparents, grandparents, parents, other relatives and friends, who have a garden, almost for the entire year. Learning to can and freeze food was as natural as brushing your teeth! During the summer, when school is out, we shelled peas, shuck corn(yeah say that fast!), canned beans and tomatoes, picked berries, smashed berries, and, on occasion, churned butter! I wish I had a dollar for every pea I shelled! I be richer than Midas! Knowing these “techniques” can make a huge difference in feeding your family for several months without electricity. There have been lots of times when we would get lunch or diner straight out of the garden, washed and prepped, cooked, and on the plate in a couple of hours. No storage. No refrigeration! Scraps of food went into the garden or compost. And you can cook this stuff straight over an open fire. Two words…”cast iron”…it is a very good investment…it is great to use anywhere…open fire or stove! You don’t have to wash cast iron(I know it does sound gross, but believe it or not, that is the “beauty” of cast iron)..you wipe it out and keep it seasoned. You can cook anything in cast iron, from biscuits…to a cake! People with cast iron can cook almost forever! I would view it as essential. Enough about the garden.
Survivalists' concerns and preparations have changed over the years. During the 1970s, fears were economic collapse, hyperinflation, and famine. Preparations included food storage and survival retreats in the country which could be farmed. Some survivalists stockpiled precious metals and barterable goods (such as common-caliber ammunition) because they assumed that paper currency would become worthless. During the early 1980s, nuclear war became a common fear, and some survivalists constructed fallout shelters.
Food Supply- Non-perishable, calorie-dense food is the rule of the day. Variety is fine so long as it will keep for extended periods. Here you can go with either dry staples, like beans, pasta rice and flour, or canned or foil-pouched foods, like meats, veggies, fruits and stews or soups. Canned and pouched items are also conveniently ready to eat after opening (don’t forget a few can openers). Consider adding drink mixes like electrolyte powder or Kool-Aid for energy and some variety.

21. Coffee – This bean is a great all-around thing to have in a doomsday scenario. It gives water a nice taste, increases energy and alertness, and will always be a great bartering item due to many who need their morning fix. Buying the whole green beans is the best option for long term storage. San Marco coffee offers a 25lb. pail with a 10 year shelf life!

Thanks, Viet Nam Vet. People keep calling us a democracy but that is not our form of government. Our founding fathers were reluctant to have a true democracy because they correctly feared mob rule. It doesn’t bother me that government moves slowly. That keeps it from swaying to and fro in shallow breezes. Congress was supposed to be a deliberative body. The Supreme Court was supposed to be an even more deliberative body. Rapid response is only acceptable in the troops coming to your rescue, not in governments.
Add any extras for your situation: For example, here’s our guide on prepping with food allergies and how to store EpiPens without power. Also consider special needs for pregnant women, small children, pets, people with disabilities or significant medical issues, etc. If you have poor eyesight, always have a pair of backup glasses and contacts in your emergency supplies.
The eruption of Mt Fuji will indicate that an east/west fault line has fractured, allowing Northern Honshu to slide into a 6500 metre ocean trench. Earthquakes of the past 90 days in the eastern side of Japan has weakened it’s foundation, a porous sub-structure; a land of a volcanic substance. The resulting tsunamis’ will wipe-out millions of humans in the Pacific region as well as severely destabilizing the Earth’s crust, resulting in the dislodging of the Western & Eastern Antarctic ice sheets. This massive loss of weight from the continent of Antarctica will result in an asymmetric rotation of the Earth and so cause the isostasy (Balance of the Earth’s crust.) to become unbalanced. Crust displacement at Magnitude 12+ will then occur until the Earth’s crust reaches equilibrium, while at the same time hundreds of volcanoes will erupt, lands will disappear and have an extreme destabilizing effect on the climate patterns.
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I giggled about your reason for not including wheat berries. I agree that many have few or no backing skills or how to make flour but…. I like the idea of wheat because if it is properly stored it can last 30 years and when I first started prepping I told my self that I wasn’t looking for a part time job rotating short lived stock. With my first 5 gal buckets of wheat (from a farmer friend) I also got a manual flour mill. Lots of fun and good exercise. I make some version of whole wheat bread every week. (Don’t want to be heavily invested in prepping and not know how to use what I got!) One season we had a complete wheat failure so I picked up a couple of buckets of soybeans. Another learning curve but eventually made pretty good bean dishes. Question for you and yours, during general internet research I found some articles on Trypsid inhibitor (TI)in beans and how it could be a real problem. Most of the articles appeared to be aimed at telling farmers to not feed soybeans directly (with out some processing) to pigs – in time it can kill them. The TI is neutralized when sufficiently heated. So the hours of boiling beans would take care of this condition but it doesn’t answer questions like:
Some products are no different than a normal box of mac and cheese: you boil water in a pot, mix the packaged product into the pot, turn the heat to a simmer, cook, and serve. Others are as simple as pouring boiling water in the pouch and waiting a few minutes. In some cases, the water doesn’t even need to be hot (although flavor and texture is better if it is).
We liked the Rice Pilaf because it had actual vegetable content! Whole peas and large slices of carrot. No other company has this much vegetable content, not even Mountain House. With chicken broth, white rice, and a surprising addition of orzo, this meal was excellent, especially with some of the freeze-dried chicken included in the Premier bucket.

I just read your article, its great your helping folks out like this sharing your knowledge and experience. Ive been prepping now for about 5 years slowly growing our preps for our family but I noticed a couple of items I really think you should add to your list if you dont mind my suggestions. Not that I know anything you dont but if we all share ideas we can help each other. which is my first point. If you have a couple of friends you can trust, work with them and each work on specific lists to grow your… Read more »
There are a lot of us out here that are concerned about survival and where our country is going that DO NOT buy into the baloney that is saying that liberals/progressives are the source of our problems. Yes, people on the left were beaten, imprisoned, and harassed for their beliefs. And yes, there are intolerant jackasses on the left, but the amount of violence, intimidation, denial of rights, and harassment coming from the right far outweighs any other source. I do not care about party labels-right wing democrats in the first 2/3 of the 20th century were responsible for much of the above.Look at the history that does not get taught-Rosewood, Tulsa, Southern Arkansas, and the thousands of lynchings that occurred. These were not done by progressives/liberals. Research history, read about our history, learn what really went on. Then proceed with making survival plans that are positive for our future. It would be nice to read the many good ideas on here without the political BS.
Then you would need water, food, composting toilet. There would likely be an EMP, so you’d need a radio protected in mylar bag, and that bag has to be protected from the blast. The radio may be a source of info about how your area was hit. The government would do a survey about the affected area. If you are on your own, you’d need a radiation detector and knowledge to do your own survey. You’d likely need to leave an area eventually, but EMP likely would’ve disabled your car.
If you sign up for alerts about CMEs, I suggest you narrow the frequency of the alerts to no more than once a day. You can do this right when you create the alert, under the “show option” link. That way, if some new study is published about CMEs and every science news outlet covers it, you don’t get hundreds of alerts, just one per day. You might even change the alert, while the news covers this study, to once a week.
There wasn’t much weather tracking prior to the late 19th century. Certainly, some individuals kept track of the weather as best they could locally, but it wasn’t organized into a regional or national scale perhaps until the mid 20th century. I am reading about the great desolation of the 1930s in the Eastern Colorado, Western Kansas, Oklahoma panhandle, North Texas area and even in the 1930s weather tracking was at best primitive. Dust storms came as big a surprise to the weather bureaus of the region as it did to the farmer on the ground.
Forgetting to store spices, salt, oil and basic condiments that are needed for your food storage. How will your famous spaghetti sauce taste without Italian seasoning, salt, olive oil and that pinch of sugar? Beans are a great staple to have on hand and can be seasoned in a variety of ways using salt, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, soy sauce, ground red pepper and more. 
He continues, "My entire world, from the surrounding arid hills to the uniforms and vehicles, was khaki brown or olive green - except for some strangers confined to a stockade on the edge of Igloo, who wore bright orange uniforms and spoke a strange language in rapid-fire fashion. They were Italian prisoners who had been shipped a long way from the front lines of southern Europe to sit out the war in South Dakota.”
They have a huge selection of dehydrated and freeze-dried foods from top brands such as Saratoga Farms, Mountain House, EasyPrep, OvaEasy, Yoders, Datrex, Mainstay, WonderMill, and more. They also have a complete selection of MRE Military Meals. These include self-heating kits with meals like spaghetti, sweet and sour chicken, and garden vegetables in tomato sauce.
And none of us want to be without our cell phones any longer than we have to (plus they may be our only connection to the outside world so there's that) so keep an eye on the weather. If a storm is brewing, be sure you're staying charged up. Better still, have a non-electric back-up charger. Besides solar options, Martin says, there are even wind and water powered chargers now.
And while most of them will tell you they got into survivalism out of an interest in self-reliance, that spirit by no means excludes a sense of cooperation. It’s there in the endless churn of blog posts, advice columns, Pinterest boards, Facebook groups, online classes, and digital marketplaces these women use to connect and swap information every day. And it’s here at Wild Abundance, in the open-air living room, where a woman with short hair and tattoos balances two tall boards of wood on the ground as another starts screwing in the shelves that will connect them into a bookcase.
One newsletter deemed by some to be one of the most important on survivalism and survivalist retreats in the 1970s was the Personal Survival ("P.S.") Letter (circa 1977–1982). Published by Mel Tappan, who also authored the books Survival Guns and Tappan on Survival. The newsletter included columns from Tappan himself as well as notable survivalists such as Jeff Cooper, Al J Venter, Bruce D. Clayton, Nancy Mack Tappan, J.B. Wood (author of several gunsmithing books), Karl Hess, Janet Groene (travel author), Dean Ing, Reginald Bretnor, and C.G. Cobb (author of Bad Times Primer). The majority of the newsletter revolved around selecting, constructing, and logistically equipping survival retreats.[10] Following Tappan's death in 1980, Karl Hess took over publishing the newsletter, eventually renaming it Survival Tomorrow.
This group is concerned with the spread of fatal diseases, biological agents, and nerve gases, including swine flu, E. coli 0157, botulism, dengue fever, Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease, SARS, rabies, Hantavirus, anthrax, plague, cholera, HIV, ebola, Marburg virus, Lassa virus, sarin, and VX.[36] In response, they might own NBC (nuclear, biological and chemical) full-face respirators, polyethylene coveralls, PVC boots, nitrile gloves, plastic sheeting and duct tape.
The reason the vacuum sealing system’s up on this list is because I feel food has a much longer “shelf life” so to speak when its vacuum sealed before being thrown in the freezer. Used to have a lot of power outages when we lived in Toronto, and each time our food would thaw out a little it’d taste worse and worse – except for the one vacuum sealed slab of meat we got from a neighbour which I think withstood 2-3 power outages (one which lasted 4-5 days) and tasted as though it was vacuum packed the day before. I’ve also heard of people vacuum packing rice into smaller one-serving portions, and have always thought that a great idea for cases you might want to throw a bunch into a pack and go, or just generally extend the shelf life of your food/prevent rats and mice from getting into things. Necessary? No. Definitely still something I want, though.
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I would like to add something, not necessarily to the list, but more like “food for thought” ideas that could very well save you and your family’s life. Living in the South, you “will almost” grow up around some natural disasters, whether it be a hurricane or tornado, most of us here take “prepping” very serious..and we learn a lot from those disasters also (I.e. Hurricane Katrina). I grew up around great-grandparents, grandparents, parents, other relatives and friends, who have a garden, almost for the entire year. Learning to can and freeze food was as natural as brushing your teeth! During the summer, when school is out, we shelled peas, shuck corn(yeah say that fast!), canned beans and tomatoes, picked berries, smashed berries, and, on occasion, churned butter! I wish I had a dollar for every pea I shelled! I be richer than Midas! Knowing these “techniques” can make a huge difference in feeding your family for several months without electricity. There have been lots of times when we would get lunch or diner straight out of the garden, washed and prepped, cooked, and on the plate in a couple of hours. No storage. No refrigeration! Scraps of food went into the garden or compost. And you can cook this stuff straight over an open fire. Two words…”cast iron”…it is a very good investment…it is great to use anywhere…open fire or stove! You don’t have to wash cast iron(I know it does sound gross, but believe it or not, that is the “beauty” of cast iron)..you wipe it out and keep it seasoned. You can cook anything in cast iron, from biscuits…to a cake! People with cast iron can cook almost forever! I would view it as essential. Enough about the garden.
When purchasing preps, some people choose to buy a few items at a time, often due to budgeting issues. However, some people can afford to buy everything at the same time. Whichever way you choose to do it, there are items you should focus on as your top priority. From our experience the following list includes the top purchases that anyone should make when they first start prepping.
barter bugging-in bug out bug out bag bug out location bug out vehicle cooking crisis scenario defense DIY economic collapse EDC edible plants energy extreme weather fire firearms fire making firestarter food preservation foraging gardening guns honey knife meat preservation natural healing off-grid oil food preservation prepper prepping self-heal self-sufficiency shtf survival survival food survival vehicles urban preppers water water filtration
Seven Silicon Valley entrepreneurs have purchased bunkers from Rising S Co. and planted them in New Zealand in the past two years, said Gary Lynch, the manufacturer’s general manager. At the first sign of an apocalypse — nuclear war, a killer germ, a French Revolution-style uprising targeting the 1 percent — the Californians plan to hop on a private jet and hunker down, he said.
MREs at the time were pretty much like they are now, but the menus have improved and some minor details have made this meal in a bag much more palatable if you can believe that. I served before they had things like M&M’s or skittles for dessert and hot sauce to flavor your food. We also didn’t have a built-in heater like they do now. If you wanted your MRE warm you were limited only by your creativity. MRE food packets are foil so they are both waterproof and allow you to heat them on almost anything. We would use the heater vents in our trucks, lay them on our stoves in the tent or on the block of our engines.
first find a spot were you will go when the end comes. next recruit a few buddies that share the same end of the world views. fill them in on the spot you will go to when disaster happens. now the fun begins, every recruit has a job to do when its time to run for the hills. steal and pillage all supplies and food from anywhere you can in a 4 hour period, than take it back to camp and live your life to the fullest. that simple. any walmart or small store will have everything you need to… Read more »
Salt, pepper, some chili powder, mustard, sugar, honey – the list is endless.  These items do not need to cost a lot nor do they need to take up an extraordinary amount of space.  When push comes to shove, however, your eating experience will be greatly enhanced by having a variety of flavor enhancers on hand to enliven the taste of your stored food stuffs.
We as humans tend to be an angry species nowadays. When I was younger arguments were settled with fists, sticks and stones, or perhaps knives as a last resort? Mortality rates from these encounters weren’t as bad as firing a firearm in anger. I’m just afraid my own anger would cause me to fire first! Combat situations are easy to talk bravodo about but unless you’ve ever killed a live person or had another person shoot at you, you have no idea what you would actually do in a grid down situation.
I haven't used them yet since they are in my apocalypse bag (which more people should have and less people should make fun of because I mean seriously in what way is it dumb to be prepared, even if it becomes a hobby...an expensive hobby...a hobby that caused my wife and children to leave me because I woke them up constantly at 5:13am with homemade alarms to run threat drills in case bandits with grenades came or whatever) but yeah anyway I'm gonna be really glad they are there even if it's just for piece of mind!
Today, the property would be of interest only to the most ambitious apocalyptic rehabbers. It consists of a launch control center surrounded by three-foot thick concrete, plus the main silo—measuring 180 feet in height and 52 feet in diameter, most of it underground—which the owner can repurposed as needed. Water has leaked into the property for years, but the latest listing states that it has been “cleaned and dewatered.”
“Title-1 schools are on the free-breakfast and free-lunch program. When I say free breakfast, I’m not talking about a glass of milk and a roll. But a full breakfast and cereal bar with fruits and juices that would make the Marriott proud. The waste of this food is monumental, with trays and trays of it being dumped in the trash uneaten. (Our tax dollars at work!)
The largest doomsday bunkers in the United States are not only for civilians. In 1992, a Washington Post writer by the name of Ted Gup exposed the hidden bunker at Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia. For decades the retreat of government and Presidents, the resort has a massive bunker located below the West Virginia wing complete with an auditorium large enough for the House of Representatives and a separate space for the Senate Chamber. Holding a television studio, hospital and living quarters for all members of Congress in the event of a nuclear war.  Tours are now available of the bunker to visitors of the resort.
58. N95 masks – if there is ever a pandemic, having a mask can be invaluable. Flu, sars, ebola, etc… when the crises hits these be will go fast, so stock up on some before they are needed. It is suggested to get the N95 quality valved respirators, although there is some debate on their effectiveness. A full face respirator will settle the question!

A word on the market. It's not news that the DOW has been slammed by  1700 pts in the last 48 hours, but tomorrow will be interesting. Will  the sell off continue? Bottom line: Likely not organic. Is this the  coordinated crash, or crash attempt? Here is what the non establishment types think: There was no "selling panic", and no legitimate  liquidation as the selloff was largely a function of coordinated  deleveraging by both hedge funds and systematic traders. I.E., It's a  hit job. Not that the "why" or "who" matters when the rubber hits the  road. Just a heads up...
This was what the residents of Hawaii had feared, and predictably, there was mass panic. Tearful phone calls saying good-bye to loved ones were made by the thousands. People raced toward shelters of any kind — a shopping mall, random building, anything that could provide protection. One video showed parents placing their small children in a storm drain, hoping they, at least, would survive the blast if, indeed, the Hawaii missile alert had been real.
In his book Dancing at Armageddon: Survivalism and Chaos in Modern Times, Mitchell, the sociology professor, develops a working theory of survivalism as a response to living in a society where every object we could possibly need is already taken care of for us. “The shelves are full, and the channels are full,” Richard tells me over the phone. “This is a response to a culture that has stripped away from us our sense of efficacy, our capacity to craft culture.”
I find the uproar about Google's privacy policy rather amusing. Do you really have an expectation of privacy on a medium of communication developed by governments in the first place? Seriously? And that it was "given to the public" out of altruism on the part of governmental/military systems that created it? Google and the NSA have been in strategic partnership since the beginning of 2010 (perhaps even before, but that's when the NSA ... as in National Security Administration ... set up an office in Google HQ). You have no privacy on the internet, and probably never have. It's just that you are probably not doing anything generally harmful or attention-grabbing for the government (or anyone else) to really care.
I just read your article, its great your helping folks out like this sharing your knowledge and experience. Ive been prepping now for about 5 years slowly growing our preps for our family but I noticed a couple of items I really think you should add to your list if you dont mind my suggestions. Not that I know anything you dont but if we all share ideas we can help each other. which is my first point. If you have a couple of friends you can trust, work with them and each work on specific lists to grow your… Read more »

As with everything in life, don’t take prepping to the excess.  Hoarding is not the same as prepping and the accumulation of useless or marginally useful items can take up every spare corner of your home or apartment.  Although it is wise to keep extra on hand for barter purposes. be realistic about your ability to prep for the long term while maintaining a clutter free home enviroment.
You can’t go wrong with instant mashed potatoes, they are a great and inexpensive addition to your food storage. I like Gaye, will use the DAK ham, it is one step up from SPAM. You can add it to a pot of bean soup or fry it up with some potatoes and onions and peppers. I look for versitile foods that are low in sodium and that serve multiple purposes.
Last thought. I live in a small subdivision, in a small southern town, and a lot of the stuff I mentioned, are very natural to us, because we grew up around it. I can’t even remember the last time I bought a tomato at the grocery store! Our small community established our own disaster plan in an effort that if there was a great catastrophe or crisis, we can block off our subdivision and go straight into “survival mode”…it is not that hard to do, and remember there is always safety in numbers.

I buy dry beans and can them myself. I know it sounds like a lot of work but its super easy and MUCH cheaper than store bought canned beans. I tend to have some empty canning jars so to keep as many full as possible I fill the empties with beans and have even canned water. An empty jar is just taking up space and provides NOTHING. The dry beans are good for long term and the self-canned are great for quick meals. The best of both worlds!

But if you stay, take note of the time. When the outage strikes, the clock is ticking on the food in your refrigerator and freezer. The USDA says food in a fridge will stay safely cold for four hours if the door isn't opened and a full freezer will maintain temperature for about 48 hours (if it's half full, that's 24 hours) as long as you keep the door closed. And don't rely on just looking — and certainly not on tasting — to see if the food's safe, they say. Instead, keep appliance thermometers in the fridge and freezer. You want to see 40 F or below in the fridge and 0°F or lower in the freezer. When in doubt, take individual foods' temperature with a food thermometer.


Any prepper plan has to take into consideration what food options will be best in various situations. Usually we recommend different types of food for different scenarios. If the power goes out you look for food that doesn’t need to be cooked. Canned tuna, MRE’s and snack bars fall into this category of course so do a lot of other foods. You want to store foods that your family will eat but there is also a need to have long-term storable food that you can take with you in a bug out bag. Frequently I will recommend freeze-dried foods for bug out bags, but those do require some preparation. For starters they need hot water or else you are eating rocks. MREs do not need water (except the pudding) and you don’t even need to heat them up.
There’s going to be a fire risk in your bunker, and it could even be in the walls. Many professional companies use Expanded Polystyrme (EPS) foam blocks which, according to Clarence Mason of Tempest Building Systems, are highly flammable and full of toxic chemicals in an attempt to make it less flammable. They should, ideally, be encased with something that is not flammable, but because they’re used in part to reduce costs, you might be tempted not to.
Gale, you’re right about the bug eggs. I know it’s a little skeevy to think about but *nearly all* grain products (whole wheat berries, biscuit mix, pasta, cornmeal, anything) already have bug eggs in them. That’s what the dry ice is for; it helps stave off rancidity and it also prevents (ew) hatching! Or you can freeze the items for a week and then store long-term, but that’s a lot more trouble than it sounds like and doesn’t help prolong shelf life.
If there was anything my freeze-dried food experiment taught me, it was how lucky I was to be able to walk down the street and buy a sandwich whenever I wanted to—but also how far I was from being self-reliant in the more quotidian sense. If freeze-dried meals are becoming increasingly popular in America, then maybe it’s because many of us realize that if something really bad happened, we wouldn’t know the first thing about surviving for a week on the ingredients lying around in our pantry. But as we continue to be bombarded by headlines foreshadowing epic floods, economic collapse, and nuclear escalation, there’s nothing wrong with finding a little peace of mind in a bag of dehydrated Chicken A La King.
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